Baby cats are probably among the most adorable creatures alive. Kittens are so delicate and fragile in infancy, which is why it’s essential that they are given the nourishment they need without overfeeding or promoting bad eating habits. If you just welcomed a new kitten into your home, or are planning to get one, you might be wondering just how much to feed it, how often it needs to be fed, and what sort of dietary choices you should be making for your pet. This kitten feeding guide will give you everything you need to know about raising a healthy and well-fed kitten.
Just how often do newborn kittens eat? Feeding times and schedules would vary according to how old the kitten is exactly. The weight of the kitten should also be watched closely so you could make feeding adjustments if needed. In general, kittens could be allowed to eat as much as they want throughout the day. These tiny creatures tend to grow fast and they have specific nutritional needs that need to be met. You should be on the lookout though because obesity in kittens is also common and poses health risks.
Kitten Feeding Chart by Weight
So how much should I feed my kitten? Referring to a kitten feeding chart would be useful in ensuring that your kitten is being given the right type and amount of food and growing at a healthy pace.
Feeding Newborn Kittens
If the mama cat isn’t present to nurse a newborn kitten, you’ll have to feed it with milk formula during its first week. Bottle feed the newborn kitten with about 2-6 ml of formula every 2-3 hours. Kitten formula can be purchased in pet stores or online stores. You can also make your own kitten formula if you have the time. You can try this kitten formula recipe posted by Kitten Rescue. NEVER feed a kitten cow’s milk or baby formula. Experts warn that doing so could be fatal to a newborn kitten.
A healthy newborn cat should weigh about 50-150 grams. Continuously monitor the weight of the kitten as a way to know if it’s being properly fed. You can use a gram scale used for weighing food in the kitchen for this purpose.
Feeding Kittens 1-2 Weeks Old
The same feeding schedule of every 2-3 hours should continue when the kitten is 1-2 weeks old. You’d have to increase the formula feeding amount to about 6-10 ml per feeding. See if the kitten is gaining enough weight. He should weigh at least 150 grams but not more than 250 grams by this time.
Feeding Kittens 2-3 Weeks Old
As the kitten reaches two weeks of age, it will be starting to act a little more social and play with its littermates. Feeding times can be adjusted to every 3-4 hours with increased feeding amounts of about 10-13 ml of kitten milk formula. By the end of the third week, the kitten’s weight should have increased to about 250-350 grams.
Feeding Kittens 3-4 Weeks Old
At 3-4 weeks, your new kitten would start to grow a little heavier to about 350-450 grams. Feedings could be less frequent, to about every 4-5 hours with about 14-18 ml of kitten formula.
Feeding Kittens 4-5 Weeks Old
A month after birth, you can again adjust the feeding schedule to every 5-6 hours or about four times a day. As the kitten continues to grow bigger, its body would require more food and nutrition. This would be the time to start weaning it off from milk formula to make the transition into wet food.
Feed the kitten about 18-22 ml of formula about three times a day, adding a little liquid kitten food or some gruel placed on flat saucer. Introduce mixed gruel in a dish as well as some dry kitten food in a separate dish. Prepare gruel by mixing half a can of wet kitten food with ¼ can of formula. At five weeks, formula can be replaced with warm water to make the gruel. If the kitten doesn’t start to eat on its own, try putting gruel on its nose and see it licks it. You can also try using a scoop or a tongue depressor.
Check if the kitten’s weight has reached about 450-550 grams. If it has, your kitty is definitely eating properly. By the end of the fifth week, the kitten should be fed more from the saucer than the nursing bottle.
Feeding Kittens 5-8 Weeks Old
At five to eight weeks, your kitten would be much more active and might even start to show its personality. By this time also, the kitten should be ready for solid food. Offer dry baby cat kibble alongside wet gruel at all times. Having access to both types of food readily available would help the kitten’s tummy adjust better to the dietary transition. Always offer fresh water as well.
By seven weeks, the kitten should be eating mostly dry kibble. By the end of the eighth week, it should weigh about 550-850 grams if it’s eating enough.
Feeding Kittens 8 Weeks and Up
At eight weeks, a kitten would be fully weaned. It might try to nurse on occasion if the mother is around, but it should already be eating solid food twice a day. Wet and dry kitten food both have their own advantages, but it’s important that you feed food labeled as specially formulated for kittens in the first year. You’d know your kitten is eating properly if it’s showing alertness, a clean, glossy coat, and steady weight gain. If you’re planning any dietary changes, consult a vet to rule out any health problems
Follow the recommendations in this kitten feeding guide and you’re sure to raise a healthy and happy kitten. Felines can be such picky eaters, but if you get then started on the right track from infancy, feeding them and raising them into adult cats would be a lot easier. It’s important to keep monitoring the kitten’s weight increases as well as its stool and energy levels to be able to detect any health problems. Your choice of cat food would also be crucial, so read the labels and look for expert-approved cat food for your pet.